Wilton Dance Studio updates its Nutcracker

An antique sleigh and vintage canopy bed will enhance this season's presentation of The Nutcracker by Wilton Dance Studio. Sixty dancers from Wilton will be part of a cast of 110 students and adults in the studio's 14th presentation of the Tchaikovsky classic.

The ballet will be performed on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at Wilton High School's Clune Center for the Arts.

Along with the new props — the bed is where the Nutcracker makes his battle scene entrance — additions include new period costumes for the opening party scene, and the Snow Queen and Dew Drop fairies will be dressed in sparkly new tutus. The Nutcracker himself will don a new head that will make its debut in this year's performance.

"Every year we do our best to keep the performance fresh for the audience and for the dancers," said Brenda Froehlich, Wilton native and owner and artistic director of the studio. "Some of our dancers have been with us for more than 10 years, and we're committed to making The Nutcracker magical for them every year."

Principals in this year's production from Wilton include Emma Driver as Clara and Wesley Clapp as the Nutcracker Prince. Also joining this production is world-renowned guest principal dancer Abraham Miha. Mr. Miha has performed nationally and internationally as a soloist and principal dancer with such companies as Ballet Arizona, Hartford Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and many others. The 2012 Nutcracker production marks his second appearance with Wilton Dance Studio as the Sugar Plum Cavalier.

"Every year, we're so proud of the dedication our dancers show to putting on a memorable performance," Ms. Froehlich said. "A beautiful ballet like The Nutcracker depends on each person in it lending their own sparkle, but it takes lots and lots of practice, starting in September, to bring it to life."

The ballet, in two acts, follows the traditional story of Clara and her Nutcracker prince from E.T.A. Hoffman's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, with music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Ms. Froehlich creates the costumes and overall production concepts. Scenery is provided by Mark Froehlich of J. Galt Design, a theatrical backdrop company. Choreography is by Ms. Froehlich and Wilton Dance Studio instructor and choreographer Debra MacDonald. A host community and parent volunteers contribute to the final performance as well.

Tickets to Sunday's performances are available by leaving a message at 203-544-9007 or at wiltondance.com. Click on "Nutcracker Performances," download and print the ticket order form and fax it to the school at 203-544-8820. Tickets are also available at the door prior to the performance.